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Pharmacogenetics research cited in scientific journals

Dr Francesca Wirth

Dr Francesca Wirth

Research carried out by Dr Francesca Wirth, a lecturer at the University of Malta’s Depart­ment of Pharmacy, was recently cited in a scientific report in the reputable scientific journal Nature.com. The research findings were also published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy.

As part of her doctorate, Dr Wirth carried out research on pharmacogenetic testing in collaboration with Mater Dei Hospital’s Department of Cardiology and the Department of Pathology. Patients with a history of angina who undergo coronary stenting are prescribed the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel to reduce risks of post-procedural thrombotic complications. In her research, Dr Wirth assessed pharmacogenetic variability between patients and the implications of using clopidogrel, using two laboratory-based testing methods and an innovative rapid, point-of-care testing approach to individualise antiplatelet therapy.

Point-of-care pharmacogenetic testing enables accurate, reliable and user-friendly pharmacogenetic testing at the patient’s bedside and provides rapid results to individualise therapy at the time of initial prescription, in the critical period after coronary stenting.

The research was undertaken under the supervision of Prof. Lilian Azzopardi, head of the Department of Pharmacy, in collaboration with consultant cardiologist Prof. Albert Fenech, Dr Robert Xuereb, chair of the Department of Cardiology, and Dr Christopher Barbara, chair of the Department of Pathology.

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